The Front

1 hiqhfive

As DANIEL WYLIE releases his own solo debut, Ramshackle Beauty, he tell us his top five favourite solo artists.

1 Joni Mitchell Landmark career albums for Joni Mitchell include Blue and The Hi’ssing of Summer Lawns. but her first nine albums in particular are all pleasing on the ear. The word genius was created for her.

2 Neil Young His highly individual vocal style and his knack for marrying intelligent lyrics to a beautiful melody put him way ahead of the singer/songwriter pack. Another genius.

3 David Bowie Apart from a barren period in the 808, Bowie has been the UK's most consistently great songwriter, constantly reinventing himself and always a step ahead.

4 Elliott Smith Elliott Smith only made five albums before he died, the last two of which were as good as anything ever released by any superstar you care to mention.

5 Elvis Costello He wrote loads of hit records. made loads of money and used that money to free himself from commercial restrictions allowing his creative juices to flow.


Just because they produce endless streams of snot. and don't care about going to the toilet whenever the hell they feel like it. that doesn't mean babies and toddlers should wear crap clothes. Do not force these innocents to wear dodgy peach fluffy stuff covered with frisky lamb motifs. Nippaz with Attitude sells cool gear for the little tins. They've got scratch mittens WIlii 'Love' and 'Hate' on each. and T-shirts and baby grows with slogans like ‘Mama ain't raisin' no fool' and 'Muthasucka.’

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were hard to «may; '3 .

Glasgow’s National Review of Live Art needs to reach a much wider audience. So why, asks Mark Brown, has its director indulged in restrictive practices?

first met Nikki Milican. director of the National

Review of Live Art. ten years ago when l was

previewing the event for this magazine. No sooner had I begun the interview than she stated boldly: ‘I don‘t need the press.~ What might have seemed a somewhat sweeping distaste for journalism has turned out to be indicative of something altogether more damaging.

l atii not the only arts critic in Scotland to have encountered extreme difficulty in working with Milican. However. my experience gives some insight into the way in which she works.

This year. for example. I had to pull out of reviewing the NRIA for a national broadsheet newspaper after seeing only one show. Milican had decreed that. although space for some shows was limited to as few as 3‘) people. critics were not to be assured entrance to performances (despite the fact that access was by day pass. rather titan by tickets for specific shows).

She was not. a member of her staff informed me. concerned that the artists themselves may want their work to be reviewed. Nor did she care that. if a critic failed to get access to a show. a newspaper would be left with a blank review space in the next morning‘s editions.

This situation is typical of Milican. She once asked me: ‘What are your credentials for reviewing this kind of work'." Begging the question. do audience members




require special credentials to view it'.’

Live art. altnost by definition. is virtually impossible to define. Of course. it can be a byword for itnpenetrability and pretension. However. it also produces (in the shape of companies such as NRIA regulars l’orced lintertainment) some of the most exciting performance work around. It is staggering that Milican appears to think that she is doing artists a favour by trying to turn their work into heavily guarded museum pieces.

The ramifications of her inflexible attitude go far wider than difficulties with the press. The NRIA receives public funding. through the Scottish Arts (‘ouncil and (ilasgow (‘in Council. Are these bodies happy that Milican is restricting media access to the event'.’ Do they consider it in the best interests of the public and the artists themselves that she does so'.’ And what about those artists'.’ Have they been collectively sounded out on her policy decision vis-a-vis the press'.’

Milican appears to believe that live art should be judged on different criteria from every other art form. Is this over-protective or elitist‘.’ It is difficult to tell. What is certain. however. is that if her event is to shake off its unnecessary and. surely. unwanted reputation for being only for the initiated. her attitude will have to change.

Mark Brown is a freelance arts writer and critic.

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